5+ Best Reasons Why A Filmmaker Needs A 50mm Lens | Nifty Fifty Prime Lens

Why A Filmmaker Needs A 50 MM Lens

I started with a pair of zoom lenses and no prime lenses in my filmmaking camera bag while I was creating my filmmaking lens kit for a mirrorless movie camera. 

And while these lenses were wonderful for learning how to shoot video with my Sony a7r ii, I realized I needed to upgrade my lenses if I wanted to take my filmmaking seriously. 

That’s when I discovered a 50mm lens (nifty fifty lens), which reminded me how much fun filmmaking with such a small lens and large maximum aperture can be. Because of its adaptability and beautiful bokeh, the 50mm is a lens that every filmmaker should have in their bag.

If you’re a filmmaker who wants to improve their skills simply by picking up a camera and shooting stuff, the nifty fifty lens should be in your camera bag right now. We’ll go over what a 50 mm standard lens is, why it’s so useful, and a list of some affordable nifty fifty lenses you should consider buying today in this article.

What is a Nifty Fifty 50mm Lens?

The nifty fifty is a lightweight 50mm prime lens with autofocus that is made of low-cost components and has a quick maximum aperture. Because its field of vision is so similar to what the eye sees naturally, the 50mm focal length is generally associated with the lens that delivers a “standard view.” 

The lens that is commonly provided with a DSLR or Mirrorless camera kit is a standard zoom lens with a maximum aperture of f/3.5 that close to f/6.3 when zoomed in. In comparison, a 50mm lens with an aperture of f/1.8 lets in more light and allows you to freeze action in considerably dimmer situations.

But the effect of the bigger aperture in creating a narrow depth of field is, in my opinion, the most important feature of the nifty fifty. 

Like portrait mode on a smartphone, larger apertures allow you to keep your subject in focus while blurring the backdrop. When photographing portraits, you can isolate your subject and achieve that cinematic narrow depth of field look. 

If you want to experiment with the camera’s aperture setting, a cheap 50mm f/1.8 lens will help you learn more about aperture and how it influences image creation, as well as improve your video and photography skills. 

Do you want to add a new lens to your camera bag but don’t have a nifty fifty? Here are 7+ reasons why you should have the 50mm prime lens in your bag!


50mm lens size

Although the stock lens that came with your camera isn’t particularly large, many 50mm lenses are smaller than the standard lens. Compactness is beneficial in situations when a large lens is impractical. 

Street photography is a wonderful example of when a 50mm lens comes in handy because it allows you to move more easily amid crowds. Many 50mm lenses, particularly the f/1.8 version, are also lightweight. 

The faster 50mm lenses, such as the f/1.2 and f/1.4, are heavier due to their construction, but they are still quite light and allow you to move your camera with ease.


As an independent filmmaker, you’ll need a lot more film equipment than simply lenses to get started, so constructing a kit will be a low-budget endeavor. 

The best part about today’s 50mm lens alternatives is that they won’t break the wallet. So, where do you begin? A 50mm f/1.8 lens is a fantastic place to start. A 50mm f/1.8 lens is available for practically every camera brand, including CanonSonyPanasonicNikon, and Fuji.

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Nice Bokeh on a Budget

Nice Bokeh on a Budget

Another advantage of prime lenses like the 50mm is that they offer great bokeh, which increases the quality of your images. The blurriness of a photograph’s background is referred to as bokeh. 

Sure, with its fake depth of field AI settings, a pricey smartphone with many cameras can get close, but it’s not the same. Plus, if you keep using your smartphone, you won’t know how to push your DSLR / Mirrorless camera to its limits and become a great filmmaker.

A 50mm, you may create beautiful hazy backgrounds that are moulded for a great artistic effect. Even better, you get that effect immediately in camera, so you don’t have to waste time in the editing room messing about with Photoshop.

Shoot In Low Light

Shoot In Low Light 50mm lens

While a 50mm lens is light, inexpensive, and produces clean portraits, it’s also the ideal lens for low-light indoor and outdoor photographs. 

The small/variable aperture of most kit lenses that come with a camera might be problematic in low light. When the light begins to fade, you must either increase the ISO to unacceptably high levels or abandon the camera entirely. 

50mm lenses with maximum apertures of f/2 and bigger can collect a lot of light. Because there is so much light coming into the lens, you can take videos/photos in low light without needing a flash. 

Those additional stops of light provided by f/1.8 give you a lot more versatility while shooting in low light. Shooting indoors becomes less of an issue as well.

Crop Friendly

With the ever-changing camera industry, filmmakers may find themselves changing cameras frequently, especially if they are collaborating with other filmmakers who use various cameras. 

Although most filmmakers and videographers prefer full-frame cameras, working with crop sensor cameras is widespread. 

When shooting on a 1.75x crop factor, though, you’re not in an unfortunate predicament if you choose a 50mm instead of an 85mm prime. It’ll be a closer macro, but you’ll be able to position yourself better than with other lenses.

50mm Lens Is Sharp

A zoom lens has more internal parts than a prime lens like the 50mm. Another reason I like the nifty fifty is that it takes crisp, clear pictures and videos. 

If you compare an image shot with a 50mm lens to one taken with a kit zoom lens, you’ll notice a significant difference in sharpness. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM ART Lens, for example, is one of the sharpest lenses on the market today.

Although this is a higher-end, more costly 50mm lens, even entry-level 50mm lenses, such as the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II, provide exceptional sharpness. 

Furthermore, 50mm lenses frequently offer better color rendition and less chromatic aberration than kit lenses, resulting in photographs that are not only sharper but also more true in color.

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Nifty Fifty Lenses To Buy

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Key Features:

  • EF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/22
  • Super Spectra Coating
  • STM Stepping AF Motor
  • Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens is a compact, normal-length prime that is well-suited to everyday shooting. It is one of the most adaptable focal lengths available. 

Working in low-light situations is made easier by the brilliant f/1.8 maximum aperture, which also gives you more control over the depth of field for isolating subject matter. 

When operating in backlighting and harsh settings, individual elements have a Super Spectra coating to assist prevent flare and ghosting and achieve improved contrast and color accuracy. 

An STM stepping AF motor is also used to achieve fast and near-silent autofocus performance, as well as a full-time manual focus override.

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

Key Features:

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/22
  • One Aspherical Element
  • Double-Gauss Optical Design
  • DC Autofocus Motor
  • Seven-Blade Circular Diaphragm

The Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 is a flexible normal-length prime lens developed for full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras. It is simple, bright, and lightweight. 

Its slim form makes it ideal for everyday shooting, while the quick f/1.8 maximum aperture aids working in low-light circumstances and provides greater depth of field control for selective focus imagery. 

One aspherical element is used to correct spherical aberrations, while a double-gauss structure is used to achieve sharper, clearer image quality over the aperture range with reduced field curvature.

A DC actuator is also used to provide quick and precise autofocus while still being quiet enough for video recording applications. A rounded seven-blade diaphragm is also included to create a smooth, circular appearance for out-of-focus highlights. 

This go-to lens is distinguished by its simple design, which combines the convenience of use with improved image quality.

Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Lens

Key Features

  • F-Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/16
  • One Aspherical Element
  • Super Integrated Coating
  • Silent Wave Motor AF System
  • Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm

The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G is a classic normal-length prime lens with a brilliant maximum aperture and a lightweight build. The 50mm focal length, which corresponds to the natural field of vision, is ideal for a wide range of subjects, from landscape to portraits.

The f/1.8 aperture is ideal for working in low-light situations, and it also allows you to regulate the focus location when employing shallow depth of field techniques. The optical design includes one aspherical element to reduce spherical aberrations and distortion, resulting in exceptional sharpness and accurate rendering. 

Flare and ghosting are reduced using a Super Integrated Coating, which improves contrast and color accuracy. The Silent Wave Motor also provides full-time manual focus override and fast, quiet, and precise autofocus performance.

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Want more filmmaking content? Then check out or guides to the best skills needed to excel in the film industry, tips to become a better director, or smartphone filmmaking 101.


I hope I’ve convinced you to go out there and grab yourself the most used lens and focal length of all time!

The 50mm prime lens has a character all of its own and it makes for a unique videography and photography experience — filming could even become a real adventure! 

If you liked this article please help me share it via, a tweet, stumble, pin, or Facebook share would be much appreciated! 

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